I don't remember the last time I finished a late-week Byron Walden puzzle without Googling. It's entirely possible that I've never been able to do that. I just zoomed through this one...which could mean one of two things. It wasn't one of Byron's tougher puzzles...or I just know 17A: With 18-Across, "In the Arena autobiographer" (Charlton / Heston) and his movies.
To be truthful, I wasn't aware of his autobiography, and I initially thought the puzzle was about a boxer. I started with the Downs, though, and it was pretty easy to suss it out from there.
Other theme answers:
27A: 1956 movie starring 17- and 18-Across, with "The" (Ten Commandments).
39A: 1961 movie starring 17- and 18-Across (El Cid).
44A: 1968 movie starring 17- and 18-Across (Planet of the Apes).
58A: 1959 movie starring 17- and 18-Across (Ben Hur).
60A: 1971 movie starring 17- and 18-Across (Omega Man).
I've only seen one of them ("Omega Man"), but I'd heard about the others. "Soylent Green" is one of Don's favorite old movies. He'll be disappointed that it wasn't in the puzzle.
I haven't mentioned multiword answers lately...should get back to that, since I still like them.
1A: Run-of-the-mill computer, in tech slang (beige box). I can't believe I've never heard this expression, but it was very guessable.
15A: Not have an accomplice (act alone).
65A: Jarringly unfamiliar (too new).
7D: __ about (on or)...used extensively in legal documents.
27D: Prepare to drive (tee up)...I like the clue.
29D: __ soul (no one) (nary a).
39D: Like sushi fish, typically (eaten raw).
45D: Make a snack of (nosh on). I snack all the time, but I never say that I'm noshing...such a funny word.
Favorite answers include 9A: Part of a dirndl (bodice), 43A: Alternative nickname for the Gloved One (Jacko)...sounds like a variation of jackass, but I like that it has a J and a K, 64A: Throw the flag on, so to speak (penalize), 66A: Textbook offerings (examples), 9D: Like Sydney Carton at the end of "A Tale of Two Cities" (beheaded)...gross, to be sure, but I'll bet it doesn't show up in the New York Times puzzle often, 31D: Grading gamut (ABCDF), 46D: State capital originally called Crabtown (Helena)...so thankful that we played the capitals game for years and 55D: Czech runner Zátopek (Emil).
I liked the clues for 20A: Copy over? (trace), 42A: Home fronts? (yards), 49A: Transnational cooperation (axis), 63A: Tabitha's grandmother on "Bewitched" (Endora)...that makes her seem so sweet...I don't recall ever thinking of her as grandmotherly, 2D: Second (echo), 3D: Tilting type: Abbr. (ital), 12D: They believe (ists), 33D: Little shaver's conveyance (trike), 53D: Ring of the Fisherman wearer (Pope), 57D: Georges (ones) and 61D: Bit of cheesecake (gam).
I do like the similar answers at 8D: TV princess (Xena) and 50D: Prefix with phobia (xeno). What's not to love about X words?
I absolutely loved this puzzle...I don't think it's just because I was able to finish it without outside help. So many good words, so many good clues.
Although it certainly didn't hurt that I felt as though I was on Byron's wavelength for the first time in my life.
Here's the grid...
...and I'll see you tomorrow.